Free Markets, Free People

Has the Trayvon Martin incident become more about the media than the shooting?

If you’ve been following this incident at all, you know that much of what was initially reported was wrong and some of what has been reported since was false, manufactured and/or misleading.

American Thinker has a good round up of the story to this point.  In the article, Jeff Lipke outlines the “myth” as it was perpetrated by the media.

The two worst offenders in my opinion have been NBC and ABC.  NBC aired an edited 911 tape which was clearly meant to depict George Zimmerman as a racist.  They continue to try to defend it as a “mistake”.  No one with any common sense is buying that nonsense.

ABC used footage of Zimmerman’s arrival at the Sanford police station to claim that it didn’t support his claim he’d been attacked as there was no evidence of blood or contusions. Never mentioned was the fact that Zimmerman had been treated by EMTs who are not in the habit of leaving visible blood on a patient they treat.  Subsequent enhancement showed that initial claim by ABC to have been incorrect.  Additionally, ABC claimed that Zimmerman had used a racial slur when talking to the 911 operator.  Again, enhancing the audio makes it clear he didn’t and instead seems to be remarking about how cold it was that night.  In fact, for central Florida, it was a cold night.  But ABC jumped to the conclusion because it supported the desired evolving story line – it was a racial killing.

The unraveling of the myth seems to have the whole story losing steam.  That may be why Al Sharpton decided to be a no-show at this weekend’s rally.   And there have also been incidents that have done little to gain sympathy for Trayvon Martin.  HIs parents attempt to copyright his name obviously hoping to capitalize on his death. Then there was the rally for Martin by members of the school he attended which turned into a flash-mob looting of a local drug store.

But for the media, this has been anything but its finest hour.  One of the reoccurring criticism of blogs by the media is they’ll publish anything and have no editors to check them.  Yet it is the media, especially the two networks named above, who’ve seemed to fall into that category, editors notwithstanding.

Take the latest story circulating.   Supposedly “Neo-Nazis” are patrolling Sanford, FL.  The NY Daily News reports this as a fact.  But Legal Insurrection’s Professor Jacobson has actually tried to confirm it (wait, isn’t that what editors and research assistants are supposed to do in the media?).  And, according to his inquiry to the Sanford Police Department, there’s no evidence of any neo-Nazi group patrolling the city:

My initial e-mail (which included an embedded link to the Memeorandum thread):

“There are a number of reports in the media that Neo-Nazis are conducting armed patrols in Sanford.  Can you confirm or deny whether this is true, and provide any information you have on the subject? If someone is able to get back to me as soon as possible (and before Monday) that would be appreciated, since such rumors are spreading.”

Response from Sanford Joint Information Center:

“At this time the City of Sanford has not confirmed the presence of Neo-Nazis groups.”

My follow up:

“You say “not confirmed.” Is there any indication of such patrols that the Department is aware of?”

Further Response from Sanford Joint Information Center:

“We have no indication of any such patrols at this point in Sanford. The only large gathering was the children and their parents at the Easter egg hunt.”

How poorly are we being served by a media which now seems to be engaged in precisely what it criticized blogs for?  And how ironic is it that a blog is doing the work the media should be doing?  That’s not to say blogs are in the clear.  Every left wing blog of any size has been parroting the rumor as well.

But the fact remains this case, no matter how you feel about it, has shown the media in a very unflattering light.  Sensationalism, poor journalism, lousy and false editing, conclusion jumping,  and rumor mongering have all been evident in their coverage.

And the industry wonders why so many Americans don’t trust them any more?


Twitter: @McQandO

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23 Responses to Has the Trayvon Martin incident become more about the media than the shooting?

  • I stopped believing the news 40 years ago in Vietnam. We were flying Operation Linebacker sorties over the North when lots of media types showed up. None of the host wing crews (366 TFW) would speak to them. We wore subdued rank and no name tags so they could not even get our names. After a mission, I got on the step van for a ride to maintenance debrief and a sniveling pimp from NewsWeek climbed aboard with his tape recorder and little half steno pad. We ignored him completely. A crew that had deployed down from Korea got on. The reporter introduced himself and they gave him their names and home towns. When he asked about their target, the pilot talked about it – a major No-No.

    In the van beside the driver was a coleman cooler filled with ice and rolled up hand towels. DaNang was 960 nm north of the equator so it’s either hot and wet or hot and dry. F4Es aren’t really air conditioned so after a three hour strike mission, an ice cold towel around your neck was better than sex.

    Three weeks later the NewsWeek hit the BX. The only factual pieces of the story the reporter used were the fools’ names and hometowns. One remark was stunning. He reported that the crew had barely enough time todrink a beer out of the cooler before his next sortie.

    Journalists have their stories already written. With the exception of names, facts are optional.

  • And this website continues to foster the Trayvon Martin story.

    • @tadcf And this website continues to HELP DEBUNK the PREFERRED LEFTIST NARRATIVE OF THE Trayvon Martin story.

      There, that’s better.

      Also, I should note, this website continues to endure trolls. The burden of being a serious site, I suppose.

    • @tadcf Foster, or correct? I don’t suppose you’re sharp enough to see the distinction.

      • @looker. I do not believe this web site is “fostering” the Trayvon Martin story. A better verb might be “refute.”

        • @Arco Is it too much to ask for a better class of trolls?

        • @McQandO Apparently. Trolls really only come in stupid…and stupid and vile.

        • @McQandO Well, you know what they say about flak and your proximity to the target.

        • @Ragspierre Actually, there’s a category beyond vile – Erbistic. Scott was really upset when I told him the old Alabama country saying – “Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”

  • If you ask any liberal, FOX is the enemy, and the rest of these outlets are just spiffy. I weep for these idiots. They’re being so badly served by our media and they either don’t know or (more likely) don’t care, because it serves their political beliefs and ends.

  • BTW….Insty today has a piece up about journos are stunningly ignorant about the subjects they cover. Nevermind bias, this is yet another way our media ill-serve us. I see that Mike Wallace died, and while everyone was writing loving tributes to him, all I could wonder about was just what lies and distortions he was allowed to get away with during his career, because the public didn’t have the tools to catch and check him. What did they all get away with before we had the power to “fact check their a**es??”

    • @The Shark Over four years ago (at, I put it like this, addressing an arrogant snot of an ex-NBC journalist who wanted journalism schools to certify “citizen journalists”: —————————————————————————————————————-
      “You don’t understand business, economics, the military, or technology; in fact, you don’t study anything in school except how to put words in a row. But you still write stories on government, foreign affairs, and the economy, despite the fact that most of you are less able to understand those things than my teenage sons.”

      • @Billy Hollis You were dead on, and pretty prescient in a few places. PS- I remember commenter Glasnost. Whatever happened to that guy?

        • @The Shark Don’t know where glasnost went. As a left-leaner who wasn’t completely off the rails, I thought his perspective was interesting. You could at least agree to disagree with him. For people like that, though, the last few years have been tough. The Obama administration has shown the true thuggishness of leftism. For anyone with some connection to reality, tt’s hard to look at, say, guys with bats standing at voting precincts clearly intimidating voters, and then see them get off scot free, or see the abuses of the Occupy movement while it’s being promoted by nationally prominent Democrats, without some realization of the true nature of the mainstream left. That’s enough to dampen any rational person’s enthusiasm for defending them.

    • @The Shark I may have told the story of the natural gas explosion in south Central Texas a few years ago. Some chicky report (not that gender would have made any difference) solemnly related that a salt dome had exploded, and the methanol had been ignited…somehow. Salt domes filled with natural gas cannot ignite. And methanol is an alcohol. Typical.

  • In 1981 as I was loading my car, there was a huge explosion about a quarter mile down the hill. Leftists had loaded 100 pounds of C4 in a VW van parked in front of a national museum full of pre-Colombian art. The detonator was a timer, hoping to assassinate the president, Jose Napolean Duarte. Pieces of the vehicle rained down on the grounds of my hotel. Thirteen people standing at a bus stop were blown to bits. 2000 year old Mayan sculptures were destroyed.

    When I ran out of the garage, a white van marked “ITN” in duct tape rolled past me. It was a British news crew who had exposed my team’s location several weeks before. They had prior knowledge of the attempted assassination and did not inform the government. I told the defence minister (who actually ran the government) the journalist identity. It is not a surprise to me that that man is one of the most famous news readers in UK today. Any Brit would recognize him.

    I’m not fond of the media.

  • To make even preliminary sense of the hotly disputed and remarkably fluid landscape of modern media, it helps to recall Churchill’s axioms about historiography, and recognize that something closer to the inverse is warping our basic view of journalism. It’s the losers, not the winners, who are writing the early historical drafts of this transformational media moment, while those actually making that history—the people formerly known as the audience, in critic Jay Rosen’s apt phrase [And Rosen would have his own issues with some of those who transformed journalism — Ed]—are treating their legacy interpreters not with kindness but contempt. So much misunderstanding and breathtakingly wrong-headed analysis tumbles forth from this one paradox.

  • And over at The Atlantic, the execrable Ta Nehisi Coates is spreading the lie there is no liberal media bias…

    …While he does nothing to put the objectively known facts out, lets people repeat and spread lies with his website, and finds it to be bewildering that anyone finds Mr.’s Sharpton and Jackson’s participation to be risible.